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Is your home smart? Do you want it to be?

Home Control, Smart Homes, Z-Wave, Zigbee, IoT, wireless systems, wired systems, hybrid systems plus many other platforms and acronyms are what make home automation so confusing.

The next series of Tech Tuesday articles will be addressing the area of Home Automation and all the different ways you can accomplish a connected home. We will look at systems and technologies that range from simple control of a few lights to complete home automation where your imagination and your budget are your only limits. We will take the time to break these systems down and explain the benefits and pitfalls of each.

First thing we need to figure out: What is home automation?

Home automation is a residential system that includes the control and automation of lighting, HVAC, security, shades, audio visual products and appliances either individually or together.

  • Modern systems generally use dimmers and sensors connected to a central hub or processor. The system is controlled with a user interface that can be a keypad, touch screen, computer, mobile device and/or a web interface.
  • Simple systems may use a wireless technology to control a single light bulb or a few light bulbs together.
  • A comprehensive system would bring in more aspects of a home’s features, such as a home theater, shade controls and/or HVAC. A top of the line system could ultimately give you a hands free connected home, if that is the desire.

The premise of home automation is one that enhances the owner’s experience of their residence.

Now that we have a better understanding of what home automation is, our next step is deciding if a home owner would truly benefit from a smart or automated home and to what degree? And one thing I am sure we can agree upon is that we are all different in what we see as benefits.

One person perhaps sees how nice it would be for the shades in their home to automatically go up and down depending on the time of day (and year) to maximize the energy savings of an HVAC system. Another owner may want to have an app or button create the perfect environment for watching a movie or entertaining guests. The option of the outdoor lights coming on when you arrive home at night could be more important to someone over having their Jacuzzi turn on remotely from their phone.

So in order know if an owner would benefit from all this technology we would need to talk with that owner and ask how they currently interact with their house. Once we have that information we can start to design a system that would really enhance a home owners experience day after day.

Are there some benefits that we might all see with a smart home? Yes, I believe there is. With all the different technologies, platforms and manufacturers that are in this market, there are 5 benefits that most every home owner would see from some level of home automation.

What are those 5 benefits? Well, we will tackle those in next week’s Tech Tuesday.

Thanks for reading!

Dan Byers – Manager
CES Santa Barbara